By now everyone knows about Google Glass or Smart watches and that their coming out party is just around the corner. This is both exciting and scary from a digital marketer’s perspective.
Visiongain calculates that the global wearable technology market will attain a value of $5.26 billion in 2014. Wearable technology is not new and has been utilized in vertical sectors such as the military and healthcare for many years. Up until recently though, technology has been holding back the communication mashup as well as limiting the ability to have smaller form factors with enough battery life. Ongoing advances however, have triggered a major resurgence, particularly among the consumer community. That is significant from a marketer’s perspective.
If anything, now is the time for marketers to experiment as it is a vast frontier with virtually no marketing ecosystem to support it so it’s ok to take the risk. Geek humor suggests the opportunity to get in the consumer’s pants via their smartphone, but now that shifts to other body extremities. I pause to point out that although I believe Smart watches will be adopted quickly, wearables like Google Glass will need to update their form factor to be more like cool sunglasses before the masses jump on board. In fact, Rochester based Vuzix will be introducing these sleeker see-through wave guides as early as the 2015 CES show – http://optics.org/news/5/10/31
So what does all this mean for marketers? Honestly, it’s hard to tell, but today it’s all about big data from all these different devices. It’s too early to predict how we will be able to analyze the intersection point in the sales conversion or content funnel, but my bet is that it will be huge! Discover Financial Services must agree as they have launched an app for Google Glass which will enable users to view their bank account information such as current balance, available credit, and the last 16 transactions. I think this is just the beginning of a new wave of wearable apps that will start hitting the market.
More ad space anyone? Opt-in Contextual marketing at its best – capable of pushing text messages, proximity marketing, mobile coupons, and mobile payment presents a tremendous opportunity for marketers to reach out and touch someone – oh wait, that’s Augmented Reality. Let’s not neglect that reality layer. I’ll touch on that in a future blog post.